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Virtual Values

Tsune ni shinen kufu seyo –“Always create and devise” is # 20 of the Shoto Niju-Kun (20 Principles of Shotokan karate) by Master Funakoshi. And this is what we have all had to do since the pandemic of COVID-19. Not just in Karate training, but in daily life since this enormous challenge came upon us.

With regards to Karate training, this precept has been especially important. At the beginning of the pandemic, nearly every single dojo worldwide was forced to immediately stop classes. And rightly so. COVID-19 is an extremely dangerous and deadly virus, which is highly transferable and has taken hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide and continues to.

Students have had to train alone at home more than they may already have been. This demands self-discipline, imagination and creativity. Arranging a training area in one’s residence requires imagination and creativity as well. Adhering to a training schedule also demands self-discipline and regularity. And deciding what one wants to train from session to session. This type of training requires nothing less than looking inward and self-analysis, as self-training should always be, but even more so as there is no instructor to give any corrections and feedback.

As restrictions were lifted, some dojos began having types of classes that may have not been normal for them. Keeping and obeying all safety precautions and guidelines, certain environments such as training outdoors to allow social distancing and constant fresh to be available has become very common. Some dojos have actually opened with classes being held in the actual dojo, with very strict rules including wearing a mask while training and not training, keeping social distance at all times, only allowing a limited number of students in each class, sealing off water fountains and dressing rooms, arriving at the dojo already in one’s gi, and absolutely no contact whatsoever.

Before and during these previous special conditions of self-training and training in one’s dojo with restrictions is the advent and convenience of online training such as Facebook Live and “meetings” such as those offered by Zoom. In this type of training, classes can be streamed and even recorded. While the classes are not “in person” there is interaction between the instructor and the students. Once again, these have some different requirements and creativity.

With regards to Facebook Live classes, the students may see the instructor, but the instructor cannot see the students. This requires self-discipline on the part of the students. The instructor cannot see the students and cannot provide correction and feedback. And the might choose stay to for the entire class, but are by all means expected to. Or, if the student wants to take a break or skip counts, he/she can and the instructor would not know it. With no instructor there to witness the student’s effort, the student must have self-discipline and self-honesty at all times. The instructor must not just give verbal instructions, but must demonstrate that which is being taught and trained even more so than in person classes. Therefore, both student and instructor must give their best effort, especially the students being that there are no corrections, nor feedback available. This is beneficial to both, as this environment requires both to make their own self-effort literally alone.

In Zoom meetings, there is the ability for students to see the instructor and for the instructor to see and hear the students. Students may also see each other. Things such as camera angles, camera distances and the training area must be created by both instructor and students. This too is an example of creating and devising. And it is all individualistic.

Some see virtual training as an inconvenience and/or awkward. However, we must find the positive points in it. And we must all create and devise.

For info on LKA's special online membership & virtual training, contact us here.

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